Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
The World War II Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument is located on a cliff eight miles west of Normandy American Cemetery, which overlooks Omaha Beach, France. It was erected by the French to honor elements of the American Second Ranger Battalion under the command of Lt. Col. James E. Rudder. During the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches on June 6, 1944, these U.S. Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot cliffs and seized the German artillery pieces that could have fired on the American landing troops at Omaha and Utah beaches. At a high cost of life, they successfully defended against determined German counterattacks.
By mid-1944, German forces manned formidable defenses along the French coast. Of concern to the Allies were German 155mm artillery positions on Pointe du Hoc. They could wreak havoc on Utah and Omaha Beaches. Lt. Col. James E. Rudder, commanding the 2nd Ranger Battalion, received the mission to land at 6:30 a.m., scale the 100 foot cliffs, and disable the German positions. Lt. Col. Max F. Schneider’s 5th Ranger Battalion would follow and reinforce them.
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